Symmetry? – Manning and Luck in game 35


Last Sunday, Andrew Luck had what has been called a “career day” against the worst team in the league right now. His Colts walloped the Jaguars for their first win of the season.

Since the start of the 2013 season, I’ve been keeping track of exactly how Luck compares to Manning at the same point in each of their careers. When updating for this week, I noted a few things their respective game 35s had in common.

  • Both games were against Jacksonville (though Manning was home and Luck was away).
  • Both were Colts wins: 43-14 in 2000 and 44-17 in 2014.
  • Both QBs threw 4 TDs and 0 INTs.
  • Both QBs were named Offensive Player of the Week after these games.
  • Both QBs passed the 9000 mark for career yardage.
  • The distribution of TD passes per quarter is the same: 1-2-0-1.

Maybe those aren’t remarkable coincidences–heaven forbid I go into Lincoln/Kennedy territory–but they’re worth pointing out. Here’s a look at the QB numbers from both games

Peyton Manning 23 36 63.89% 440 4 0 143.3
Andrew Luck 31 39 79.49% 370 4 0 140.4

Though their passer ratings were also similar, Manning had 70 more yards (Matt Hasselbeck produced 20 in relief of Luck halfway through the 4th quarter) and Luck had a much higher completion percentage, the highest of his career to date (Manning has topped 80% several times). It should also be noted that the 2000 game was actually played in week 4 of the season, but was still the third game for the Colts, who had a week 3 BYE.

Lastly, for those of you not keeping track at home, here is the career comparison of Manning and Luck after 35 games.

QB W L CMP ATT CMP% Yards Y/G TD INT AY/A Rating Playoffs
Peyton Manning 19 16 725 1212 59.82% 9027 257.91 61 44 6.82 84.62 0-1
Andrew Luck 23 12 768 1323 58.05% 9108 260.23 55 30 6.70 83.55 1-2

Those numbers are also very similar (except for those INTs). The question is, forgetting Manning’s future, who do you take?  Do you go with the guy who went 3-13 and then 13-3, or the guy who went 11-5 two years in a row, and managed a playoff victory? The correct answer is not “Russell Wilson.”